Culture

Sesame Street Adds Two Black Muppets, Wes and Elijah, to Speak on Race and Racism

The new Sesame Street characters were introduced in a short video by Sesame Workshop.

There are a couple new friendly faces on Sesame Street. As a part of the show’s ongoing Coming Together initiative, two Black Muppets, Wes and Elijah, were introduced to the show on Thursday.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the show, have produced a set of resources to support families in talking to their children about race and racism. The program also offers professional development materials for social workers, educators, and healthcare providers.

“At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child,” said Sesame Workshop Senior Vice President Dr. Jeannette Betancourt. “Children are not colorblind — not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age. By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others.”

In the video, Elmo wants to know why 5-year-old Muppet Wes’s skin is brown. His father Elijah then explains the concept of melanin to Elmo, and how “the color of our skin is an important part of who we are.”

‘The ABCs of Racial Literacy’ is designed to foster open, age-appropriate conversations among families and support them in building racial literacy,” Betancourt continued. “By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others.”

 

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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